Geraint Thomas stands a good chance of climbing into the yellow jersey at the Tour de France if Team Sky fulfil their ambitions in today’s team time trial.
Lying sixth overall and already in the white jersey for best young rider, the Welshman hopes that Team Sky will be able project him to the top of the rankings with a win in the 23km second stage at Les Essarts.
“We’ll give it our best, hopefully that will be enough,” Thomas told Cycling Weekly. “We’re definitely in with a fighting chance.”
Team Sky pride themselves on their ability in the team time trial and would only need to gain over six seconds on Omega Pharma-Lotto and over three seconds on BMC to potentially put Thomas on top.
However, they will also need to be at least as quick as the teams of all 74 other riders who sit at six seconds in the general classification, including strong team time triallists Radioshack, HTC-Highroad and Liquigas. If any of these teams gain the upper hand, Andréas Klöden, Tony Martin or Maciej Paterski are respectively best placed to move into the lead.
Garmin-Cervelo are also strong contenders for the team time trial. With Thor Hushovd on the same time but three places ahead of Thomas, they are marginally better positioned to take the leader’s jersey tomorrow.
Thomas sits in his high overall position thanks to finishing sixth behind Philippe Gilbert on yesterday’s opening stage. Although supposedly on domestique duty, the 25 year old found himself at the front of the charge up the Mont des Alouettes after a chaotic final run in.
“I was working for Edvald [Boasson Hagen] and keeping Brad [Wiggins] out of trouble,” he explained. “I didn’t do that very well because Brad crashed!
“Edvald was in a really good position but I think he just ran out of legs with 500m to go.
“I got caught up in that crash a little bit. I had to unclip and had to make a bit of an effort to get back. But I just felt really good and fortunately had the legs to move on and run sixth in the end, which is a nice bonus for myself.”
His high finish has landed him his second spell in the white jersey after a four day stint early in last year’s Tour.
Back then it was tentatively suggested that Thomas could move into yellow on the stage seven summit finish at Station des Rousses.
It was not to be, but tomorrow’s race against the clock offers a far better opportunity for a team that includes three members of Great Britain’s world beating team pursuit squad.
Thomas said that taking the yellow jersey would be “amazing” but was keen to stress the team need to concentrate solely on their performance in the team time trial.
“If the jersey comes with that, well… fantastic,” he said.
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Stage one report: Gilbert blasts to victory
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index